RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The final countdown appears to have started for a possible expansion by Warren Buffett-backed NetJets.

Raleigh Durham International Airport is still in the running, too, according to a union official who works with the airline.

Allen Price, who works with the Teamsters, said RDU, Orlando and Fort Worth are still battling with Columbus, Ohio for the possible relocation or expansion of the NetJets operation, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

NetJets is based in Columbus, and Price said that he believes the company is using RDU and the other sites as leverage to get more tax breaks to stay in Ohio.

“I think it’s a leverage thing,” he said in a memo, according to the newspaper. The Skinny has heard similar reports.

RDU and North Carolina officials have remained mum on the possible deal. But development officials in Florida told the Sentinel that a decision could come as early as this week.

This is a whopper of a deal, too, with as many as 2,000 jobs involved.

Plus it’s a high prestige project. NetJets works with celebrities, executives, rich and famous folks, selling “fractional ownership” in corporate jets. NetJets offers its owners access to jets ranging in size from six to 18 passengers, and the aircraft are available within four to 10 hours of the request. It is part of Berkshire Hathaway, a Buffett-controlled company.

NetJets, which maintains its corporate headquarters in New Jersey, operates across the United States, Europe and the Middle East with some 700 jets.

Most of the airline’s 1,500 employees are in Columbus.